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TESOL International Association Statement on the Proposed FY 2017 US Federal Budget

by John Segota | 02/12/2016
Statement by Executive Director Rosa Aronson, PhD, CAE

With his proposed FY2017 federal budget, President Obama has once again demonstrated his commitment to education by requesting significant increases to fund critical programs serving some of the neediest students in the United States. The president’s education budget is focused on several key themes: increasing equity and opportunity for all students; expanding support for teachers and school leaders; and improving access, affordability, and student outcomes in postsecondary education. These areas are critical for English language learners (ELLs) and the educators who work with them.

TESOL International Association is pleased to see proposed increases for Title I and Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act, both of which impact ELLs in U.S. schools, as well as a proposed increase for Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which serves adults learning English. Each of these programs meets a crucial need for the students they serve. In addition, the proposal for universal preschool will greatly benefit ELLs, most of whom were born in the United States and who are often underserved in early childhood education.

The association is particularly excited about several proposed new and expanded programs supporting teacher and school leaders, such as the RESPECT program, the Teacher and Principal Pathways program, the expansion of teacher loan forgiveness, and the Teach to Lead program. Not only will these programs help teachers meet many of the challenges in today’s classrooms, but they could also provide a real opportunity to address the serious shortage of trained English-as-a-second-language (ESL) and bilingual education specialists in the United States. As these programs become more fully developed, TESOL International Association strongly urges the Obama administration to ensure that they address the needs of ESL and bilingual education specialists and their students.

TESOL International Association and its members stand ready to work with the president and Congress to ensure that the current and newly proposed education programs support the needs of ELLs, their parents, and their teachers.